Posts Tagged ‘education’

Feminism Book Review

March 31, 2017

Dear Ijeawele, or A FEMINIST MANIFESTO IN FIFTEEN SUGGESTIONS
By Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

This extraordinary little book gets right to the heart of raising a daughter to become a strong and independent person in a world where inequality is rampant. Fifteen suggestions are carefully constructed and could provide a valuable tool box for both parent and child.

If the term “feminist” throws you off, here it is defined as a person who believes in and acts on the goal of all people being equal. It means equal in all opportunities. In all ways. It doesn’t mean “Feminism Lite”;  it means “you either believe in the full equality of men and women or you do not.”

Adichie writes “Teach her that the idea of ‘gender roles’ is absolute nonsense. . . ‘Because you are a girl’ is never a reason for anything. Ever”.  This is a foundation for teaching equality. “Separate but equal” is not the same thing and is not applicable. The author gives good examples of how this works and how it could be applied to sons as well as daughters.

Another key concept that Adichie suggests is to “Teach her to question language”. It is not as easy as you might think and the author points out that you will have to question your own language.

“Language is the repository of our prejudices, our beliefs, our assumptions.” She writes. Indeed, language is incredibly powerful – and often underestimated.

The book, which takes about 30 minutes to read, is an open letter to her friend, who has asked for advice in raising her daughter.

It addresses concepts like marriage, likeability, sex, identity, appearance, and one of the most important things in life – “difference”. Important because every human being on this planet is unique – something we often forget in our rush to label and box people based on some irrelevant basis.

“Teach her about difference. Make difference ordinary.” And along those lines, the author ends with “I hope that (your daughter) will be full of opinions, and that her opinions will come from an informed, humane, and broad-minded place.”  A great place for the book to end…and this review of a beautiful and powerful book.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is from Nigeria. She is also the author of We Should All be Feminists.

Book Review by Phil Dynan, working artist.

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